As part of my periodic stock taking, I did a little assessment this morning of the popularity of the various comedians I write about on Travalanche. I am particularly interested (floored, really) on the low standings of one of them (he’s at the bottom) and have been trying to suss out some way to address it.
Anyway here are the rankings: here are the film comedians YOU like to read about, in order of popularity (click on the links to read about the comedians). I reiterate, these are based on the statistics of who reads what on Travalanche:
1. Charlie Chaplin: the most popular by far; the number of readers is into 5 figures
2. Marx Brothers: quite a ways back, but not too shabby — they’re about 60% as popular as Chaplin
3. Laurel and Hardy: likewise, and not surprising — they’re about 40% as popular here as Chaplin
5. The Three Stooges: they are just a hair behind Our Gang; until a few days ago they would have been fourth in the rankings
6: Burns and Allen: a third as popular as Chaplin; their standings no doubt enhanced by their added popularity as radio and tv stars.
7. Buster Keaton: comedy and film buffs are always shocked by this but not me. On Travalanche, Keaton is one-fifth as popular as Chaplin. I think if you did a Q Factor poll, this would prove out similarly amongst the general population. Only educated people know who he is nowadays, and educated people are in the minority
8. W.C. Fields: he’s right behind Keaton, and this one does surprise me; I’d expect Fields to be closer to the top
9: Eddie Cantor: right behind Fields — all three (Keaton, Fields and Cantor) are each about 20% as popular as Chaplin on Travalanche
10: Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean): the highest standing on Travalanche of a latter-day film comedian (with the exception of a couple of others I’ll talk about separately below). His post is also at about 20% popularity of Chaplin’s.
11. Mae West: Like Fields, her lower standing surprises me
12. Jimmy Durante
13. Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle” — part of his standing can of course be accounted for by scandal
14. Jackie Gleason: Gleason’s popularity on the site is about 10% of Chaplin’s
The posts above are all into four figure numbers of readership. The ones below are in the hundreds:
15: Joe Cook: kind of a surprise that this post ranks at all; the only reason I can think of is that there is probably next to nothing on Joe Cook elsewhere on the internet
16. Ed Wynn
17. Jack Benny
18. Bob Hope
20. Red Skelton
22. Edgar Bergen
23. Joe E. Brown
25. Thelma Todd — was pleased to see that she made the list, and I of course think she is great, but the number is probably greater than it might have been if she did not die under mysterious circumstances
26. Harold Lloyd — OK. This is the one I want to talk about some. Lloyd barely moves the needle. To make this list, the post has to top over 250 readers. Lloyd barely squeaked in, making him 1/40 as popular as Chaplin here. The phenomenon is interesting to me because comedy buffs put Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd in a “Big Three”, and in the 1920s, Lloyd was generally the top comedian in the country in terms of popularity. There are many factors involved, of course, including what else is out there on the internet. But what I keep coming back to is that there is also plenty else out there on Chaplin, and he’s doing best here by a huge margin. And I give all the posts the same amount of promotion. I have to conclude that Lloyd’s Q Factor amongst the general public is quite low, much lower that we who live in the “old movie cul de sac” are aware of. It’s something we should try to address, I think. Luckily, two years from now, we’ll start having lots of Lloyd centennials beginning with the introduction of his “glasses” character – – a perfect opportunity.
Other surprises: Some of the others (people I consider pretty important) who didn’t even chart include: Harry Langdon, Larry Semon, Mack Sennett, Hal Roach, Mabel Normand, and Charley Chase. And of course I’ve written about several hundred comedians here — but most are too obscure nowadays to garner more than a couple of hundred page views.
Final Note: Goldie Hawn, Arte Johnson (!), and Chevy Chase all ranked pretty high on the list, but their status is adulterated by other factors. The title to the Goldie Hawn post contains the phrase “go-go dancer” (apt to attract people looking for something else); and likewise the Arte Johnson post uses the phrase “Dirty Old Man”. And Chevy Chase is of course the name of a neighborhood in Maryland, which may skew the figures in terms of Google hits.